MORE THAN ENOUGH
by  Frederick C. Kubicek

    Before we can determine how much is enough in our lives, we must first settle the question as to whether or not God wants His people to be prosperous. After all, if He doesn’t, then a bare subsistence living would be enough. (For a more detailed discussion of this topic see Needful Things Chapter 8  Poverty Or Prosperity: Which One = Praise.’ If you are reading this study on the web, simply click on the highlighted text to be taken to the referenced work. If you are reading a printed version of this study please visit our web site at www.unlimitedglory.org and click on the referenced book & chapter in order to view or download it.)

     For now, here is a list of Scriptures which definitely indicate that the answer to that question is ‘Yes - God does indeed want His children to be prosperous.”
Mk.10:29-30 No one who has left home... or fields for Me and the Gospel will fail to receive 100 times as much in this present age.
Heb.11:6 Anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him
Deut.28:11 The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity...   (abundant – Strong’s # 03498 yathar {yaw-thar'} - to show excess, have more than enough, have an excess                                                   
Ps.25:13 He will spend His days in prosperity... (prosperity = Strong’s # 02896 towb {tobe} = a good thing, benefit, welfare, prosperity, happiness
Ps.31:19 How great is Your goodness... which You bestow in the sight of men.
Ps.23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies... my cup overflows.
Ps.33:27 The Lord be exalted who delights in the well being of His servants.
Prov.10:22 The blessings of the Lord being wealth and He adds no trouble to it. (wealth =Strong’s # 06238 - `ashar {aw-shar'} - to be or become rich or wealthy  ( Solomon asked God for wisdom, and since his priorities were straight God not only gave him wisdom, but according to II Chron.1:15, during his reign silver and gold in Jerusalem were as common as stones.)
Mal.3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse... test Me in this and see if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessings that you will not have room enough.
Lk.6:38 Give and it will be given unto you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.
Prov.13:21 Prosperity is the reward of the righteous (prosperity =  Strong’s # 02896 see Ps.25:13 above)
Ps.112:1&3 Blessed is the man who fears the Lord... wealth and riches are in his house. (wealth
= Strong’s # 01952 hown {hone} = wealth, riches, substance.  Same word as Deut 8:18 below and in Prov. 3:9 under Firstfruit reason #1      
Prov.8:20 I walk in the way of righteousness along the paths of justice bestowing wealth on those who love Me and making their treasuries full                                                                                 
II Cor.9:11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.(rich = Strong’s # 4148 ploutizo {ploo-tid'-zo} to make rich, enrich
II Cor.9:6Whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

Prov.19:17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord and He will reward him for what he has done.
I Tim. 6:17 …put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment              (caution – Ja. 4:8 & I Pe.5:2)  Strong’s #619 apolausis {ap-ol'-ow-sis}, not word in Ja.4:8) 
Deut.28:13 If you pay attention to the commandments of the Lord... you will always be on top and never on the bottom.Contrast this verse with the following ones which deal with DEBT:                                      Ps.37:21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously                                   Ro.13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another.
            Prov.22:7 The borrower is the servant of the lender.
            Deut.28:12 The Lord will open the heavens... you will lend to many nations but borrow from                 none…. The Lord will make you the head, not the tail….
            I Thes.4:1&12 Finally brothers, we instruct you in how to live in order to please God... so that             your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on                         anybody.
The foregoing Scriptures make it abundantly clear that when it comes to the topic of prosperity, God’s perfect will is for His children to prosper. Perhaps this would be an appropriate place to take a look at something which many believers are not aware of. There are 31,101 verses in the Bible, and of these, 2,350 discuss money. That means that approximately 7.4 percent of the verses in the Bible refer to money. Jesus discusses the topic of money more than He spoke about either prayer or faith (there are about 500 verses on prayer and 500 on faith in the New Testament).  In fact, 16 of the 38 parables found in the New Testament relate to money or possessions.

Now as anyone who has spent any time at all studying the Bible knows, there are many Scriptures which speak of the temptations which are associated with money, and which list the many things that hinder, or outright prevent God’s prosperity from flowing into a believer’s life. For instance, if we ask for things with greed in our hearts towards money we will not receive (I Pe.5: 2).  And from James 4:3 we learn that when we ask with wrong motives so that we may spend what we get on our pleasures (Strongs 2237 hedone {hay-don-ay'}) we do not receive. (Note, this is not the same the same word as in I Tim. 6:17)  We must act from love (I Cor. 13:3), and not worry about storing up treasure on earth (Matt.6:19).  It is also important for us to not judge or condemn others, and walk in forgiveness (Lk.6:37). From Prov.28:13 we learn that he who conceals sin will not prosper, and from Ps.49:20 we learn that a man with riches but no understanding is like a beast that perishes (see also Prov.2:5). Ignoring discipline is one of the other things which leads to poverty and shame (Prov.13:18).  Poverty also comes as a result of laziness (Prov.6:10-11; 19:15 & 24:30-34), excessively sumptuous living (Prov.21:17), and folly (Prov.28:19).

Do not view the foregoing verses as roadblocks which God has placed in our way simply to prevent us from becoming prosperous.  Rather, by requiring the believer to meet certain conditions before God will pour out His abundant prosperity upon us, He has protected us from being destroyed by that prosperity. You see, the principles which are hidden in the above verses, and which we will examine next, cannot be implemented, much less mastered by anyone whose spirit has not been purified by the blood of Jesus, and whose soul has not been significantly sanctified by the Word of God which has become alive within them through the work of the Holy Spirit (Ja.1:21 KJV & I Pe.1:9). Remember, God’s promises have been hidden for us, not from us! (I Cor. 2:7 & Matt. 13:11 – for a more detailed discussion of this concept see Chapter 3 of the book The Last Enemy entitled ‘Search For It.’)

In short, purity must proceed prosperity, otherwise the very prosperity which God intends as a blessing would become an instrument of our destruction. For a more detailed discussion of the temptations which come with abundance, see Chapter 9 of the book Needful Things entitled ‘ Filthy Lucre or Righteous Riches.’

Let us now take a look at another series of verses which are considered to be a roadblock by some believers. These deal with the misunderstood area of the tithe. While I know there are many believers who feel that the tithe is Old Covenant, and that we are not under any portion of the Old Law, I would like to hold that part of our discussion until the end of this section. For now, please allow me to address the financial principle that is being referred to by the tithe.

The word 'tithe' (Hebrew = maaser) means ‘to give or take the tenth of, or the tenth part of something’.  The Mosaic law clearly dictates the setting aside of this 10%.   Lev.27:30-33 provides in part that "...a tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees belongs to the Lord."  In Nu.18:21 God provided that the tithe was to be given to the priests in return for their service as priests.  Other specific directions concerning tithing are also found in Deut.14: 22-29 and 26:1-5.

In these verses we are informed that among other things, the tithe went to the priests for them to live on, as well as to provide support for widows and orphans. But verse 29 of Deuteronomy chapter 14 provides an interesting clue concerning the link between offering the tithe, and prosperity. It says in part “…so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” This clearly infers that God’s ability to bless the tither is directly related to his/her tith-ing!

This link is clearly spelled out in Mal.3:8 wherein we read:
                     "Will a man rob God? Yet you robbed Me! But you ask, 'How do
                     we rob You?' In tithes and offerings. 9 "You are under a curse,
                     because you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! 10  "Bring
                     the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in
                     My house. Test Me now in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and
                     see if I will not throw open for you floodgates of heaven and
                     pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough
                     for it. 11   " I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and
                     the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD
                    Almighty. 12   "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for you
                    shall be a delightful land,”…. (emphasis added)

Principle # 1 Not tithing is equivalent to robbing God, and those who rob are called thieves.

What impact does such theft have upon the finances of the thief? Well, according to Prov 6:30  we are told not to “…despise a thief if he steals to satisfy hunger when he is starving 31Yet if he is caught, he must repay sevenfold; though it cost him all the wealth of his house.” Now while this verse is used by many believers to justify the position which holds that when we catch satan stealing from us he has to repay seven times, it clearly says that the thief must repay seven times and the entire substance of his household is up for grabs in the process. Needless to say, that could explain one reason why the finances of non-tithers are so often in turmoil. Sidebar - (In regards to the issue of satan stealing from us, I would ask the believer to consider the issue that satan is not stealing because he is hungry. Rather he is stealing because that is part of his nature. As such, since he is not stealing because he is starving, I do not believe that Prov. 6:30-31 is a verse we can stand on in regards to receiving back that which satan has stolen. On the other hand, there is no doubt that satan was the thief in the case of Job, and according to Job 42:12 Job was repaid double for those thefts, see also Ex.22:4)

Principle # 2 Those who do not tithe are under a curse.
   
But what is this ‘curses’ impact upon our financial resources? For the answer to that question turn to Zech 5:1-4.
                     “I looked again – and there before me was a flying scroll! 2 He
                     asked  me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a flying scroll,
                     twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.” 3 And he said to me,
                     “This is the curse that is going out over the whole land; for
                     according  to what it says on one side, every thief will be
                     banished, …4 The Lord Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out,
                     and it will enter the house of the thief … It will remain in his
                     house and destroy it,  both its timbers and its stones.’ (emphasis
                     added - The ‘He’ who is talking to Zechariah  is the angel of the
                    Lord who  was sent to give him the message)

    When I first read this verse I shuttered. As we saw earlier, not only are the finances of the non-tither in serious jeopardy, but now we are being shown that his very home is subject to destruction.  Allow me to digress for just a moment. You see, in May of 1999 our home was destroyed by fire. Now believe me, I am not accusing God of burning down my house. However, I am saying that I have only very recently come to the realization that while I have a fairly good understanding of what it means to acknowledge the name of God known as ‘The Most High,’ and was therefore standing on the promise of Ps 91:10 that no harm would come near my ‘tent,’ because I had also failed to tithe regularly, not only were my personal finances less then perfect, but I was under a curse as a thief. (For a more detailed discussion of the names of God see Chapter 11 ‘What’s In A Name’ of the book entitled The Last Enemy. Also, for a more detailed discussion of our house fire, and it’s impact upon both my life and our ministry, see the article “Pastor’s House Burns Down – In All Things Praise God.” ) The point is, I was open to attack because I was not adhering to one of the kingdom’s economic principles. This is not a matter of law – it is a matter of not being qualified to receive one of the blessings which are available for believers. 

Principle # 3 The Lord will rebuke the devourer for the tither. 
   
In my previous state of mind I was not in the position whereby God could rebuke satan for me. I was having to do it myself; and needless to say, I was not always successful – especially on May 16, 1999. Whereas, according to Isa. 50:2 when God does the rebuking, it is total and complete. “…By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea, I turn rivers into a desert; their fish rot for lack of water and die of thirst. I clothe the sky with darkness and make sackcloth it’s covering.”

Principle # 4 The tither who stands in faith, is going to be the recipient of abundant blessings.

    Look back at Mal 3:10 for just a moment. Notice that it uses the word “floodgates” of heaven when God tells us how much He is going to pour out upon the tither. That word is ar ubbah {ar-oob-baw'} Strong’s # 0699, and is the same word for ‘floodgate’ used in Gen.7:11 when God opened the floodgates of heaven and allowed the rain to cover the earth. Now just imagine – God has promised the believer that He will open those same floodgates in order to pour out blessings upon the tither!!!  Now I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to SHOUT.
   
Remember, when we tithe, we are only returning to God that which is God’s in the first place. As we saw earlier, the tithe specifically belongs to the Lord. We are merely a steward. What right do we have to ask God to bless us for returning to Him that which is already His? In reality we do not have any right – except, He has specifically directed us to test Him in this realm. But we must start the process. First we must tithe. And when we do so, we must act in faith believing that He will then honor His Word. My tithe goes to the storehouse, and my faith goes to God – believing that He will do that which He has said He will do.

Let us now turn our attention to the question of whether or not the tithe is part of the New Testament. As we have seen, it is not a matter of the Law, but rather a kingdom economic principle. Using that reasoning alone, it could be argued that it applies to the New Covenant also. However, I know that for many that will not be enough. Turn your Bibles to Gen 28:22. In that verse we are told that Jacob promised “…and of all that You give me I will give You a tenth.” Now since we know the law was not given until the Israelites had left Egypt and arrived at Mt. Sinai around 1450 BC, and Jacob preceded Moses by about 545 years, it seems clear that Jacob’s declaration to give a tenth (tithe) was definitely before the law. However, Jacob’s promise was not the first mention of tithing in the Bible.

You see, Abraham had given a tithe of all the spoils from his victory over the four kings who had kidnapped Lot as recorded in Gen. 14:11. According to Gen. 14:20 & Heb.7:2-4, Abraham gave a tenth (tithe) of this booty to Melchizedek – priest of the Most High God. And since this happened sometime prior to 2084 BC we have a reference to tithing some 90 years before the Jacob reference. Not only does this show us that the principle of tithing predates the Law, its link to the New Testament is now more clear.

Let me explain. Under the Law, the Levites took the tithe from the people; however, Melchizedek received the tithe from Abraham, (Heb. 7:5-6).  And there is a huge difference between having to take, and receiving something which is offered freely and willingly. According to Heb. 5:6 and 7:11, Jesus is High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. For He is the true King of Peace and King of Righteousness. As such, He receives our tithe. The money goes into the storehouse (local church) and our faith goes to Him.

Before we address the next area, let me point out something in regards to the figure that we should use when we tithe. Obviously most U.S. believers in this day and age receive income not from crops or flocks, but from wages. As such, their money comes in the form of a paycheck. Now, Jesus said that we are to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s (Mk.12:17). When it comes to our paychecks, the government is very careful to make sure that a significant portion of that which is to be rendered unto them is taken before we ever see it. As such, many people are under the assumption that they should only tithe on the net pay, and not their gross pay. However, we have clearly ‘earned’ the gross. In reality, the taxes we pay are no different than any other ‘bill’ we have. As such, we are to be tithing off our gross – not the net. Remember, the whole thing is God’s. Furthermore, God is our source, not our pay-check. That is why we must stand in faith - being convinced that He will do that which He has promised when it comes to opening the floodgates of heaven, and pouring out blessings upon us.

I would now like to turn our attention to what can happen when we as believers fail to use our financial resources for the advancement of the kingdom. Take a look at Hag 1:4-6 

                    4 Is it time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses
                    while this house remains a ruin?" 5   Now this is what the Lord
                    Almighty says, "Give careful thought to your ways! 6 "You have
                    planted much, but harvest little; You eat, but never have enough.
                    You drink, but never have your fill You put on clothes, but are not
                    warm and you earn wages only to put them in a purse with holes in it. (emphasis added)

Principle # 5 Failure to provide for the expansion of the kingdom by giving resources to the church can lead to not having enough to meet your families’ needs no matter how hard you work, or how much money you earn.

For the exact opposite of this take a look at II Sam.7:12-16. Therein we are told that God’s promise to bless both David and his house forever came after he had committed his resources to the building of a temple to house the ark of the covenant. Now, while it is clear that God did not want David to be the one to actually build the temple, the plans for building the temple were given to David by the Spirit of God (I Chron 28:12 & 19), and David also provided over 110 tons of gold from his personal holdings (I Chron 29:3) for the construction of Solomon’s temple. The point is, even though we in the New Testament are not under the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13), the above mentioned Old Testament verses have established some principles of financial management, which while different from those in the world’s economy, are nevertheless much more real and binding.

Since we know that God owns everything (Ps.50:10), obviously He doesn’t NEED money. But He has stated that in a sense He needs us (I Cor.12:21&11:3). He has given His church the commission to take the gospel into every corner of the earth (Matt.28:18-20). Included in the great commission is the use of financial resources to meet the needs of those who spend full time preaching the gospel (Matt. 10:8-10 – for a more detailed discussion of this topic see chapter 13 in the book Needful Things entitled ‘Do Not Muzzle The Ox’)  Meeting the needs of widows, orphans & fellow believers in need (Ro.12:13; Ja.2:15-16; Ja.1:29 & I John3:17) is also included - and that takes money. That is why He has directed His children to give, and to give generously.

In fact, if you want an eye opener, turn to Ez.16:49-50 to find out the main reason God destroyed Sodom. Many believers think that it was primarily because of the sin of homosexuality. However, look at what God lists as the first reason -  “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore, I did away with them…”  To me that sounds like they were prosperous – but did not care for those in need. According to I John 3:17, the love of God was not in them, because they did not give. In fact, II Cor. 8:8 even goes so far as to say that our love is measured by our eagerness to give.

That would explain why Paul says in I Tim.6:17-18 “…command them (the rich) to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share…”  The more resources which believers have, the more they can give. And the more they give – the more the gospel can be preached. However, as we have seen already – before the believer can be in a position to receive, (s)he first needs to follow the kingdom principles which God Himself has put in place in order to protect the believer from being destroyed by the very prosperity which God intends to be a blessing (Matt 19:24). We need to come to the realization that God has a purpose for our life, and that we are to be a tool God uses to accom- plish that purpose. When you put a purpose driven life and God’s provision together, it is awesome.

Let us now turn our attention to some of the specific principles which God has put in place which need to be adhered to before His abundance will begin to flow in our lives, and which when followed will open the spigot of abundance.  The first of these is found in Mark 11:20-25
                    20. In the morning as they went along, they saw the fig tree
                    withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus,
                    “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered.” 22 ‘Have
                    Faith in God.” Jesus answered.23  “I tell you the truth, if anyone
                    says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and
                    does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will
                    happen, it will happen for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever
                    you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it
                    will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold
                    anything against anyone forgive him, so that your Father in
                    heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Principle # 6    What we ‘say’ is important.

The importance of what we say cannot be over emphasized. Consider a lesson from Israel’s history. I Cor.10:1-11 tells us that the things which happened to the Israelites on their wilderness journey should serve as an example and warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has fallen. According to Numbers 13:26-14:23, when the spies returned from Canaan with their negative report the Israelites began to voice their fear that they would die in the desert. God responded to their complaint. In Nu.14:28 God instructed Moses to tell them that He would do to them the very thing He heard them say. The first ones to die were the 10 spies who brought the negative report. According to the Jewish calendar this all occurred on the 9th day of the month of Av.

Many of the disasters which have come upon Israel since that time, have come upon them on the same day as the spies gave their negative report. (see Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av. Here is a partial list:

1)    The destruction of the First Temple occurred on 9th of Av.
2)    70 AD the Second Temple was destroyed on 9th of Av as well.            
3)    135 AD on the 9th of Av the Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. The             city of Betar -- the Jews' last stand against the Romans -- was captured and liquidated. Over                 100,000 Jews were slaughtered.
4)    1095 AD  The decree ordering First Crusade was declared by Pope Urban II on the 9th of Av.             10,000 Jews killed in first month of Crusade
5)    1290  AD Jews were expelled from UK on 9th of Av
6)    1320  ADJews were expelled from France on 9th of Av
7)    1492 AD The Spanish Inquisition culminated with the expulsion of Jews from Spain on Tisha B'Av.
8)    World War One broke out on the Ninth of Av.
9)    On the eve of Tisha B'Av 1942, the mass deportation of Jews began from the Warsaw Ghetto, en         route to Treblinka.
10)    The ovens were lit at Treblinka on 9th Av
For a more detailed discussion of the importance of our confession see Chapter 5 of the book Needful Things entitled “Say It.”. And for a more detailed discussion of the things which happened to the Israelites in the wilderness and their New Testament counterparts, see chapters 7, 8, 9 & 10 of the book God’s Pattern.

Principle # 7   We must not doubt.

When Mark is talking about doubt, he is showing us that there is to be no disagreement between mind & spirit. In short, the written Word must become living Word.  In this verse, ‘heart’ means both spirit & soul = Strongs 2588 kardia {kar-dee'-ah} not spirit alone, (Strongs 4151 pneuma {pnyoo'-mah}) nor soul alone (Strongs 5590 psuche {psoo-khay'}), but both. Both your mind (soul) and heart (spirit) are in complete agreement.  In other words, you must be making a stand not because some preacher or some teacher has told you to, but because you have checked out the Word for yourself, and the Holy Spirit has caused it to become alive within you. You must ‘know that you know that you know that you know’ what you have heard is correct.!!!

Principle # 8    We will receive whatever we believe we have received the moment we pray.

In regards to receiving that which you believed you received the moment you prayed, consider this, according to the Matt. 21:20-22 account of this incident, the fig tree withered at the very moment Jesus spoke to it. However, according to the Mark account, the disciples did not see with their physical eyes the withered leaves until the next day. How could this be? The answer to this is found in the Mark account. You see, there we are told that the tree withered from the ‘roots’ which are hidden from view. The withering occurred instantly, but it could not be seen in the visible realm until the next day. In regards to our prayers, in the spirit realm we receive what we are able to believe for the moment we pray, while in the physical realm it may take a while for it to manifest. If you doubt in your heart at the moment you are praying, then you will receive nothing, because in reality that is what you believed for, and at the instant you prayed, in the spirit realm that is what you got – nothing. And nothing is what will manifest in the physical realm.  You will get the very thing you believe you receive the moment you pray. (For a more detailed discussion on the topic of this level of faith see chapter 4 entitled ‘Walk By Faith’ in the book Needful Things.)

The next verse that I would like to look at is Matt 6:31-33 which says:
                     31"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall
                     we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after
                     all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need
                     them. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and
                     all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore, do not
                     worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
                     Each day has trouble of its own….” (emphasis added)

Principle # 9  Seek God above all else.

Often times when asked what it means to seek God ‘first’, believers will respond with a hierarchy: God, then spouse, then children, then Church, then work etc. But rather than view the word ‘first’ as a pecking order, view it as putting Christ at the center of your life.  Then everything else will be in correct order & perspective !!! For example, if God is at the center of your life, and His Word directs you to love you wife as Christ loves the Church (Eph 5:25), then you will do so, and you will find that your relationship to her will match up perfectly with the Word, ie, you will have the correct perspective.

Principle # 10  The necessities of life will be provided by God as a result of our seeking Him.

What a clear understanding of Matt. 6:31-33 will do, is give you a better understanding of the place that your job is to have in your life. Allow me to explain. When asked why we work, it is not unusual to get the following responses: ‘I have to.’ ‘To pay the bills.’ ‘To buy things for my family’. etc. However, I believe that these are the wrong reasons. You see, if we are working, or doing that which God has directed us to do as part of our seeking first His kingdom, then God has promised that all the physical thingswe need to live - clothes, food shelter etc - will be given to us as well.  We don’t have to work for them! Rather, we should be working in order to be a source for God’s kingdom. When you work to be a source, God will see that your bills are paid, family taken care of etc. ‘These things will be given to you as well…’ - that will be done automatically by God!!! That is one reason why God tells us in Prov. 23:4 “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.”   

Principle # 11 We work in order to be a resource for the kingdom of God.

You see, we work not to earn money for our purposes, but we work for God. Take a look at these two verses. Ps 122:9 “For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity” (Strongs # 02896 towb {tobe} see Ps. 25:13 above,  also translated as prosperity in Deut. 23:6, I Ki.10:7, Job 36:11, Eccl. 7:14, Jer 33:9, Lam 3:17 & Zech. 1:17) and Deut 8:18 (Amp.) “But you shall (earnestly) remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” wealth = see Psalm 112:3 above Strong’s # 01952. God has given us power to get wealth in order for His kingdom to be established. Our purpose for being here is to expand the kingdom of Christ. We have power to get wealth in order for the kingdom (covenant) to be established. See what it says in II Cor.9:11; "you will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."  When I am prosperous I can give more, and God will be praised more.  That's why Matt.6:4 says to give to the poor in secret.  If they don't know what man delivered the gift, they can only thank and praise God.

Principle # 12 God is to receive the best part of the first fruit of our crop/harvest/income.

    Since tithing means giving ten percent, does the Bible speak about giving more than that amount? If so, what type of impact does this giving have upon our receiving from God? As to the question of giving over and above the tithe, Deut. 12:5 refers not only to tithes, but to offerings, special gifts and the frist fruits offerings. In fact, giving of the first of your produce is mentioned in the Bible before any other type of gift or offering. Look at the account of Cain and Abel as found in Gen.4:2-7. Therein we read:
                            …Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course
                            of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering
                            to the Lord. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the first-
                            born of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offer-
                            ing, 5 but on Cain and his offering He did not look with favor…
                            6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your
                            face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?
                            But if you do not do right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires
                            To have you, but you must master it.
Remember now, this was definitely before the Law.

But the New Testament clearly recognizes the concept of giving from the first and best of what we receive. According to I Cor 15:20 & 23 Jesus is referred to as the first fruit from among the dead. Ja.1:18 refers to New Covenant believers as a first fruits creation. And Ro.11: 16 says that if the part of the dough offered as first fruit is holy, then the whole batch is holy. Finally, Jesus rose on the first day of the week, the Sunday after the Passover. On the Jewish calendar this would be the 17th of Nisan – which is the day of the first fruit wave offering Lev.23:9-18. Contrast the disasters which befell Israel on the anniversary of the negative report the spies brought back after exploring Canaan, which we examined earlier in this study, with these examples of God’s deliverance which took place on the 17th of Nisan:
1)    Noah’s Ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (Gen.8:4).
2)    Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea (Ex 3:18 & Ex:5:3 with Ex.12:1-13; Ex.13:20 –             14:2)
3)    Queen Esther approached the King and saved the Hebrews from annihilation. (Esther 3:12 & 5:1)
        Jesus is the fulfillment of the Passover Feast, and the fulfillment of the first fruit wave offering                 (Eph.2:15 & Ro.10:4). While there is no doubt that the Law has been fulfilled, there is still a                 kingdom economic principle which is presented by the first fruit offering.

    In part that principle is found in Deut.26:15. After first giving specific directions concerning the first fruit offering and the tithe, the Israelites were directed to ask God to …”look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us…” Think about this. When the Israelites brought the first cutting of the first crop (Lev. 23:9-14), the harvest had not been completed. What they were doing in effect was seeking God’s protection over the main part of the harvest that was still to come. Therein lies the difference be-tween tithing and the principle of the first part. Tithing is giving back to God a tenth of that which you have already earned or received; whereas, the offering of the first part is seeking God’s blessing over that which is yet to come. The tithe is given in relation to what we have, first fruits is offered in relation to what God wants us to have. First fruit protects us in the increase, and prospers us in the harvest that we will receive.  First fruit is given in faith in regards to that which God will increase, tithe protects what we already have received from destruction. 

Principle # 13 We honor God with our first fruit offering.

The number one reason for taking part in a first fruit offering today is to honor God. Prov. 3:9 says: “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the fristfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing…”

    We are honoring God that He sent His Son as His first fruit offering, and as a result we have been saved. And we are honoring God because He has filled us with His Spirit. Under the Old Covenant believers were obligated to give, and were under a curse if they didn’t. We do so not because of obligation, but under the principle of first things. We have the opportunity to come to the Lord to seek from Him what He would have us give. What we do with the first determines what will happen to the rest. By offering a first fruit at the beginning of the year, we are shooting a prophetic arrow that determines our future.

Principle # 14 We give a first fruit offering in recognition of the fact that God owns all things, and that He has placed us in a position of inheritance in that all of God’s promises belong to us.

    The second reason we take part in a first fruit offering today is that we do it as recognition of the fact that God owns all things (Gen.14:22).  Ja. 1:17 tells us that: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the Word of Truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all He created.” 
   
Ps. 50:10 … for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills
Ro.9:8 It is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are             regarded as Abraham's offspring.
Gal.3:6 Understand then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.
Eph.3:6 This mystery is that through the gospel the gentiles are heirs together with Israel, mem-bers                 together of one body and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Gal.6:16 JB Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, who form the Israel of God
Ro.10:12 For there is no difference between Jew and gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly                 blesses all who call on Him.
Gal.3:29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the
            promise
Gal.3:9 ...those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham the man of faith.

Principle # 15 God will increase our harvest as we step out in faith in first fruit offerings.

The third reason for presenting a first fruit offering to God is that in so doing He has pro-mised that our harvest will increase, and our family will be blessed. Return for a moment to the first verse we looked at under this topic; namely Prov 3:9. Notice two things. First the word ‘barns’ is used, not ‘barn.’- that’s plural, not singular. Now in the parable of the rich fool in Lk. 12:13-22 that man needed ‘barns’ to hold his harvest, but as his heart was not right towards God, he was in peril of losing his life over the whole situation. Whereas, Prov.3:9 just promised us that if we honor God with the first fruit of our harvest He will cause our barns to overflow. The difference of course has to do with priorities.

Look also at  Ez.44:30  “The best of all the first fruits of every kind and all your special gifts will belong  to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal so that  a blessing may rest on your household. Another example of this concept is found in I Ki.17:7-13 wherein Elijah had been directed by God to Zarephath where he met a widow who was gathering sticks. He asked her for some water to drink. As she was getting it he asked also for a small cake. She replied “ …I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat – and die…Elijah said to her, Don’t be afraid, Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have, and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son…”

Now this is really a pretty amazing request. The widow said she only had enough flour to make a small cake for she and her son, and then there would be no more – and then they would die. Elijah then said ‘Ok, go ahead and make the cake, but give me the first portion.’ Amazingly the woman did as he directed. And we all know what happened. God multiplied the oil and flour that she had so that she never ran out. The message for us is clear. Give the first part of what you have to God – and then He will increase that which comes next. The widow received from God after she obeyed and stepped out. Another example of multiplication taking place after action is found in Matt.14:13-21 - the account of the feeding of the five thousand. The bread and fish did not multiply immediately as Jesus blessed them. Rather, the multiplication took place as the disciples began to give out to the people (see also Mk.6:30-44 & John 6:1-14). Note, the same sequence of events can be found in the account of the feeding of the four thousand as found in Matt.15:32-38 & Mk.8:1-9 – giving out, then multiplication.

Principle # 16 Don’t rely on your senses or understanding for the increase – trust God.

    How God is going to supply the increase is totally up to Him. One of the greatest mistakes we make is to try and figure out how He is going to do it. An even greater mistake takes place when we look at our circumstances and decide that there is no way God can increase what we have. That is why Prov. 3:5 directs us to …Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding… Look at the following examples of God’s providing for His believers in ways that to go against what we as mere men understand to be possible or sensible:

Gen 26: 1&12 Now there was famine in the land… Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. While it didn’t make much sense to plant a crop in the middle of a famine, Isaac acted on God’s direction, and was blessed because of it.

Matt. 17: 24 When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?" 25 He said, "Yes." And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?" 26 Peter said to Him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. 27 Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you." Rather than tell Peter to go to the bank for the tax money, or to ask some friends, Jesus told him to go fishing. Again, that didn’t make any sense, but it worked.

John 21: 3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No." 6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. After fishing all night and not catching anything, it didn’t make any sense to throw out the nets in the same place they had been doing before; yet, because of obedience they put themselves in the position to receive abundantly from God.

    While it may at first glance appear to be a little out of place to talk about this particular way in which God has said that He will provide for us, take a moment and look at Ps.127:2. I am going to use the Amplified translation because it gives us a more in depth look at what the Holy Spirit is saying there:  “It is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of (an-xious) toil – for He gives (blessings) to His beloved in sleep.”  What we are being shown is that while we are sleeping, God will minister to us. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to keep a note pad by your bedside at night so that you can write down ‘inspirations’ that you get in the middle of the night. Then be prepared to act on that information.
   
    In light of Ps.127:2 think about this. If in fact we are working in order to be a resource for the kingdom, does it make any sense to work 60+ hours a week? Are we to be a ‘slave’ to our job?  Quite the contrary. We cannot be a slave to money (or our attempts to earn it), and a bondslave of our High Priest Jesus (Matt.6:24). Our position is that of sonship (Heb.2:11), not one of slavery. It is in our level of commitment to God that we are to be a bondslave (Phil.2: 5&7; Phil.1:1; Ro.1:1 & Ja.1:1). (For a more detailed discussion of what it means to be a bondslave of Christ see chapter 3 of the book Needful Things entitled “Jump In The Water Is Perfect”)  Here is another thought. We are specifically told that when Solomon built the temple, he did not assign Israelites as slaves in that project (I Ki.9: 13-23). Now why would God, who is desirous of using us to build His kingdom today, now require us to be slave laborers?  Furthermore, if a believer is regularly working such hours, how can he be spending the necessary time with his family as priest in the home, or taking an active part in his local church? Obviously, he can’t.

    That doesn’t mean that we are to slack off at work. After all, Col.3:17 directs us to do all things for the glory of God, and that includes our job. There is an old adage that says, “A full day’s work for a full day’s pay.” Remember, we are not working to pay bills, we are working to build the kingdom. To whom has God given the task of storing up wealth on earth – believers or unbelievers (Eccl.2:26) Hint: It’s not us. Don’t worry about the unbeliever who seems to be making a lot of money, or is always getting promoted. Look at Ps.73:2-17 -
                    “I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when
                    I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their
                    bodies are healthy and strong, they are free from the burdens
                    common to men; they are not plagued by human ills ...vs16&17
                    ...when I tried to understand all this it was oppressive to me till
                    I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.”
Get a good night’s rest and trust that even if God has to give you a revelation in the middle of the night in order to provide you with the information you need to solve that problem at work, or invent something, or come up with a more efficient way to do something - He will.
 
As you will recall from the very beginning of this study, Heb. 11:6 told us that it is important for believers to believe that God will reward those who are faithful to Him. The question now is, how much of a reward are we to expect? Mk 4:20 says that some of the seed which fell on the good ground produced a return of … ‘thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.’ Since our mind is now on the kingdom, and we are working for the expansion of the kingdom, and our priorities have been brought in line with God’s will, we need to stand for a greater return so that we will have more to give – which in turn will result in more thanksgiving to God.

Principle # 17  Our faith should be stretched to look for a 100 fold return when we give.

Lk.6:38 reveals still another principle: Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, and shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Among other things, this verse is telling us that a different type of faith is needed here than was the case in the tithe or first fruit offering. In each of those instances our faith is that God will directly intervene on our behalf. In this instance there is no doubt that God will be the initiator, but here He is going to use men as the intermediary by which or through whom He provides the blessing we are to receive. Most other translations for this verse specifically say that the good measure will be poured into our laps by men. What this boils down to is really quite basic: You cannot out give God. Turn to II Cor.9:6 wherein we are told: “…whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” But there is more, verse 7 continues by telling us that …Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (see also Ex.35:7&21). This gives us yet another kingdom financial principle:

Principle # 18  The amount of the return is dependent upon the degree to which one has given.

Principle #19  Giving is to be motivated by a joyous desire to give – not obligation.

    Following closely on the heels of these principles is the next one found in Acts 20:33.
And that is the principle:

Principle # 20  ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

    What I am about to say next may come as a shock to you, but I believe that it will have a staggering impact upon your understanding of God’s desire for you in the area of finances. God is the author of the Bible (Acts 4:25; Jer.1:21; II Pe.:21; I Thes.2:13; Ps.18:30& II Tim.3:16)
God will not violate His own word. In fact, He adheres to it so unwaveringly that He sent His own Son to die on the cross in our place. (For a more detailed discussion concerning the integrity of God’s Word see chapter 1 ‘Why Flesh’ in the book entitled Needful Things.) And as we have just seen God loves a cheerful giver, and it is more blessed to give then to receive. Now I ask you: ‘Is God more blessed to receive from us, or is He more blessed when He is able to give to us?’ 
       
If we want to truly bless God, we must be in a position to be able to receive from Him. It is His heartfelt desire to give to us, and He is exuberant about doing so, but He can’t give to us until we are in shape spiritually to be able to receive.  We can’t receive unless we are pure in heart & actually begin the process by giving out first. !!!!!!!

    Make no mistake about it, God wants us to excel in giving. Take a look at II Cor 8:1-8 below:
                    1 And now, brothers we want you to know about the grace that                                                            God has given the  Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe
                    trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in
                    rich generosity . 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were
                    able even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently
                    pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the
                    saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave them-
                    selves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. …
                    7 But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge,
                    in complete eartnestness, and in your love for us – see that you also
                    excel in this grace of giving.8 I am not commanding you, but I want
                    to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness
                    of others. …
Remember, giving with a good heart, right motives and from a joyous heart is a prerequisite to receiving.  Yet faith, speech, knowledge, earnestness (sometimes translated as diligence) and love – while also being prerequisite to receiving - themselves lead to receiving.

Excell first in: faith – which leads to receiving
                    Heb. 11:6  …without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to                     Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Eccl.                     2:26 To the man who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to                     the sinner He gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one                         who pleases God…
Then: speech – which leads to receiving
                    Mk. 11:24 (see above)
Then: knowledge – which leads to receiving
                    Prov. 3:1 …do not forget my teaching, but keep my commandments in your
                    heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.
                    Prov. 3:13 &16  Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gaines                                         understanding… Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
Then: earnestness / diligence – which leads to receiving
                    Prov. 10:4 …diligent hands bring wealth
                    Prov. 13:4 …the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied
                    Prov. 12:27 AMP …the diligent man gets precious possessions
Then: love – which leads to receiving
                    Prov.8:20 I walk in the way of righteousness along the paths of justice bestowing wealth                         on those who love me.
Finally:  giving – which we saw from Principle # 18 also leads to receiving

    Just as God wants us to excel in the grace of giving, according to IICor.9:8 He is able and willing and desirous of excelling also in the grace of giving to us:   “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” In the event that there is still any question left as to how much God wants us to have, look at that same verse in the Amplified translation: “…God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient (possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation)”

    The concept of God providing abundance to us so that we can then give out to others is affirmed in II Cor.9:10-11 wherein we read:

                    Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will
                    also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the   
                    harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every
                    way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through
                    us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
This verse contains numerous interesting nuggets. For example, notice that not only will God provide for our needs ‘bread for food,’ but He will also provide the amounts we need to plant (seed) in order to receive back, so we can plant again, and again and again and again and again etc. It becomes a never ending cycle of giving and receiving so we can give more. And in the process not only is God the one who receives the thanksgiving, but we are abundantly blessed. Just remember, when we receive an unexpected sum, we need to pray and ask how much we have received is for seed (sowing), and how much is for bread (our need). We do not want to eat the seed!!!

    There is however, another precious gem hidden away in that verse. Notice that it says that God will ‘enlarge the harvest of your righteousness?’ While that phrase sounds good, exactly what does it mean? Well, as is always best practice, we should let Scripture interpret Scripture. Turn to Isaiah 32:17:  “And the fruit of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence. 18 My people will live in a peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes and in undisturbed places of rest…” Isn’t that awesome!  The verses we read earlier in this study from Malachi & Zechariah warned of a curse that would destroy our house if we robbed God; yet, here is a promise which says that those who give will live at peace and security in their homes.

Principle # 21  God will supply both the seed for sowing and the bread for food.

    Having presented the foregoing kingdom principles of finance, some believers may be asking themselves, “Ok, but how do I know that this will really work?” Rather than simply ans-wer that question by saying “You have to have faith!,” allow me to again turn to Scripture.

According to Heb. 6:13-20:
                            When God made His promise to Abraham, since there was no
                            One greater for Him to swear by, He swore by Himself, 14 saying
                            I will surely bless you and give you many descendants. 15 And so
                            after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
                            16 Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath
                            confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because
                            God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very
                            clear to the heirs of what was promises, He confirmed it with an
                            oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which
                            It is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the
                            hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this
                            hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner
                            sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us
                            has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the
                            order of Melchizedek.
On the topic of giving and receiving we have God’s Word. His promises to us have been spelled out clearly and concisely!

Principle # 22  God said it – that settles it.

    If you went to the bank for a loan, and the bank officer said you qualified, and then began to fill out the paper work, you would believe him – wouldn’t you? Why then won’t you believe God? Surely His Word is more trustworthy than any mortal.

God promises: if you bring your tithes and offerings, and stand in faith –
1)    He will see that you are fed spiritually,
2)  He will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing upon you that you          won’t have room enough to hold,
3)  He will rebuke the devourer for you,
4)  When you give, He will see that you receive 100 fold,
5)  He will see that you have food to eat
6)  He will see that you have seed to sow,
7)  When you bring your first fruit offering, He will protect the harvest He has for you     for the next twelve months.

Not only does He make those promises to you but He absolutely guarantees you that He will do this for you!

What are we then to do? Allow me to share this analogy. During ancient times a ship attempting to enter a harbor during dense fog would experience great difficulty. It is my understanding that on these occasions it was not unusual for one of the sailors to attach a thin rope to his waist and then jump off the bow. If the water was over his head, he would swim until he could touch the bottom. Then he would walk to the shore and use the thin rope to pull the anchor rope to shore and then attach it to a rock. The other sailors who remained on the ship would then grab hold of the anchor rope which had been secured on shore and then pull with all their strength. In so doing they would pull the boat safely into harbor.

Jesus is our anchor, He is the living Word (John 1:1). All we need do is grab hold of that Word and pull ourselves into the safe harbor of God’s promises. There is no possibility that God’s Word will fail us. If we first meet the conditions which He has put in place in order to protect us from being harmed by the very prosperity He intends for our blessing, He will pour out His blessings upon us so that His kingdom will grow. God did it for Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, David & Solomon, just to name a few. And since He is not a respecter of persons, He will do it for you.

I would like to close this study by asking a simple question, which by the way led to the title of this article. ‘How much is enough?’ One dictionary definition of prosperity is “more than enough.” From everything we have seen, there is no question that God wants His sons and daughters to prosper. In order to both help us reach that state, and protect us from being harmed by that prosperity, He has put some very clear principles in place which we have just examined. Abraham and Lot were so prosperous that the land could not support them unless they split up (Gen.13:1-6). Isaac also reaped a hundredfold what he sowed, and became quite wealthy (Gen. 26:12-13), as did Jacob (Gen.30:43) and Joseph (Gen. 45:8-11&18). As we saw earlier, David personally gave tons of gold for the construction of the temple, and under Solomon’s reign silver was so plentiful in Jerusalem that it was almost considered worthless (II Chron.9:20 & I Ki. 11:27).  So be it. Today we are still faced with the question, “How much is enough?” 

One group of people, when asked what they would need to get more balance in their life, or what it would take to make them happy, responded that if they simply had enough money to pay off their bills – that would be enough. Others said that they would like to have about $50,000. Still others said that they would be really happy if they won the lottery.  Unfortunately, many Christians share these same misconceptions. Simply having more money without making the necessary changes in our lives will not guarantee any more happiness or success than most people currently experience.

In 1923 a meeting of some of America’s most ‘successful’ and powerful men purportedly took place at the Edgewater Beach Hotel Chicago.  Attending that meeting were the following:

Charles Schwab, president of the largest independent steel company;
Samuel Insull, president of the largest utility company;
Howard Hopson, president of the largest gas company;
Arthur Cotton, the greatest wheat speculator;
Richard Whitney, who was to become president of the New York Stock Exchange;
Albert Fall, a member of the President's cabinet;
Leon Fraser, who was to become president of the Bank of International Settlements;
Jesse Livermore, the greatest "bear" on Wall Street;
Ivan Krueger, head of the greatest monopoly.
   
    Needless to say, these men epitomized what many Americans view as success. However, by 1948:                                                                                                                                                    

Charles Schwab had lived on borrowed money for five years before his death, and died bankrup
Samuel Insull had died a fugitive from justice, penniless in a foreign land.                                             Howard Hopson was insane
Arthur Cutton had died before he was brought to trial on a charge of evading $400,000 in
    income taxes.                                                                                                    
Richard Whitney had spent time in Sing Sing Penitentiary.                                                                      Albert Fall was paroled for ill health after serving 10 months of a 1 year sentence for accepting a
    bribe.
Jesse Livermore, Ivan Krueger, and Leon Fraser had all died by suicide. http://www.careermap.com/pwhy/why.html

Some researchers have taken the position that this meeting never took place, and therefore classify it as an ‘urban legend,’ Nevertheless, the information which I have provided concerning each of these men is accurate. Without a doubt, there have been and are, wealthy businessmen and industrialists who, while not Christian in their beliefs, appear to be honest and caring individuals. (Note, those men need to be mindful of Jesus’ warning in Matt.16:26, “What good will it be for a man if gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”)  The point being made though is that wealth in and of itself, is not a prescription for integrity or peace of mind. More often than not, by itself - it brings neither.

Henry Ford was once quoted as saying, ‘I was happier as a mechanic,’ and Andrew Car-nige said that ‘millionaires seldom smile.’ Obviously, simply having money or great wealth is not the key to happiness. Since the Christian is seeking to serve God and expand His Kingdom, our priorities should be much different than those of the men who attended that meeting at the Edgewater Beach Hotel. I am sure that you have all heard of Christian industrialists who gave 90% of their income to the Lord and lived off of 10%. While those stories are true, they did not begin their careers that way. They began by giving unto the Lord, and as God continued to bless them, they increased their giving at a rate which far exceeded any increase in their standard of living until they reached the place where the 10% they were living on exceeded the 90% they were living on when they started.

As a way to begin this process, examine the Scriptures which we have just gone over in this study. Ask the Holy Spirit to purify your thoughts & desires concerning creature comforts. Sit down and talk with your spouse about what it is that you honestly would like to have in the way of a house, vehicle etc. Without false humility, take these ideas to the Lord and ask Him to check your motives and reveal to you if your desires line up with His plans for you.

Note, I am not saying that a young couple in their late 20’s are expected to set up a financial plan that will ‘lock them in’ for the next 40 years. Nor am I saying that God wants His children to live in a run down tenement, and then give everything else to the work of the Lord. What I am saying is that each believer needs to prayerfully decide what they need in terms of their housing, transportation, necessities of life, utilities, pleasures (ie.vacations, gifts for family, entertainment), retirement etc. and then commit to God that everything over and above that amount will be given to the Lord.  God wants His people to set limits on what they need, so that He can then work with the abundance.

What will happen when we do that? Well, according to all the verses that we have read, God will begin to significantly increase the resources which pass through you. As this happens you will prayerfully seek His guidance concerning future increases in your own standard of living. What is important is that you make a commitment and then live by it. That will be one of the hardest things you have ever done. You will be tempted both in terms of holding back on what you give, and on trying to rationalize ‘exceptions.’ At all times, and in all circumstances you need to remember that the condition of your heart is what is most important when you give.

One final thought. For many believers debt, is a significant deterrence to starting this process. While there are many ways to deal with this issue, allow me to share what I believe the Lord showed me to do, for I also have stumbled in this area. While I am in no way attempting to limit how God can and will provide for me to overcome in this area, I am taking the following steps in order to begin the process. Tithe without exception. Next, my wife and I are in the process of seeking the Lord as to ‘How much is enough’ in our own lives. Secondly, pay off the smallest debt first. Then take one half of the amount that you no longer have to spend on that debt and give it to the work of the Lord. Take the other half and apply it to your next debt. When that debt is paid off, repeat the process until all debts are paid. By doing this we are able to both give, and make inroads in our debt at the same time.  Then, once all debt is paid, everything that is “More Than Enough” goes to the Lord.



Authors note: While the Bible studies which have been referenced in this study were written by me over the past several years, much of the organization of this study, the format of the princi-ples listed, information concerning the interrelationship between those verses which relate to tithing and the curse that is upon the thief, as well as several of the illustrations presented here were drawn from a men’s conference I had the pleasure of attending in February of 2004 hosted by Destiny Church 1809 Des Peres Rd, St. Louis, MO 63131. The main speakers at that conference were Pastor Bob Seymour of Royal City Community Church, 601-8th Ave, New Westminster, BC, Canada V3M 2R2 and Mr.Gaines Dittrich of St. Louis, MO. Mr.Dittrich can be contacted through Destiny Church.

I also strongly recommend the book ‘Total Money Makeover’ by Dave Ramsey – Thomas Nelson Publishers 2003.






All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version r,
NIV r.  Copyright © 1973,1978,1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.  All rights reserved


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